Sep 102002
Authors: Ken Hamner

As I’m writing today’s column, I have a headache that feels like a horde of midget monkeys have infiltrated my skull and are jumping up and down on little masses of lime Jell-O trampolines. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse – with the wobbling Jell-O, the screeching and the fur flying – I had to go and read about Laura Bush’s message to parents across America. Now the monkeys are armed with claw hammers.

Her message to American parents was, “Don’t let your children see the images, especially on Sept. 11, when you know it’ll probably be on television again and again – the planes hitting the building or the buildings falling.”

Indeed, it is very important that our children feel very safe. The images of Sept. 11, 2001 are, after all, the stuff that nightmares are made of. Heaven forbid that they know the cold, hard truth that mean people in other countries hate them, their parents, their friends, their civil servant protectors and even their pets. They certainly shouldn’t know in any discernable detail that these mean people expressed their hatred last year by killing 3,000 people, many of whom were parents and friendly civil servants.

Laura Bush did say lighting a candle and saying a few words could remind kids of the tragedy via home memorial services. This sounds acceptable, even though many of the children won’t have a clue what it really means.

The cold, horrible reality of the event as captured by newspapers, the radio and television should be off limits. We don’t want children to have any nightmares or have their childhood naivety destroyed by knowing and seeing all the details of what happened in their country a year ago.

This is a fantastic idea. In fact, I think Laura’s message should be taken further. There are so many events children can potentially read, hear or see that could make them feel sad and unsafe, so it is important we keep them sheltered.

We shouldn’t limit the television ban to just the Sept. 11 tragedy. Not when so many other things can be seen on TV news or entertainment programs, things like murders, rapes, acts of arson and thefts.

When we finally do invade Iraq to remove that bad, bad man from office, children shouldn’t be aware of how brutal war truly is – what horrible things must be done to remove such a mean person from the planet.

And for the love of anything you hold dear or holy, don’t let children see the weather. Natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and swarms of locusts are sure to induce nightmares and should be avoided.

While we’re at it, we should also trash our public school system. School is a scary place! Children shouldn’t learn about playground bullies, for example, who take lunch money by force. They shouldn’t learn about grade performances in classes, where some children are smarter and some children are dumber, as this will affect self-esteem and provoke sadness. We need to get rid of physical education programs too, because competitive sports only make children aware of the concept that there are winners and losers in life, a fact that makes them most melancholy. Oh, we should completely ban social studies. Children must not, under any circumstances, learn that other countries don’t have it as cushy as their own, that other children half a world away are starving.

Such truths make our own children too sad and should be avoided. Let’s also be sure to avoid the sketchy concepts of homelessness and hunger in the United States as well.

Because our schools are so scary, we should just remove them and let parents teach from home – in a wholesome, news free environment – for a while. Only in this way can our nation’s youth embrace Laura Bush’s desire for them grow up feeling completely safe and ignorant.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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